If you are visiting Honolulu for a vacation in the Hawaii Islands and you happen to be one with a great gastronomy, then you are surely in for a surprise. Hawaii Islands is home to diverse communities from world over and so does its diverse cuisines. But before you get a real taste of local authentic food, it would be apt to know about the history of Hawaiian foods.
Prior to the Polynesian voyages arrival in Hawaii Islands between 300 AD and 500 AD, the growth of edible plants here were only few. Nearly 30 plants were brought by the first settlers. Taro was the most important plant to be brought first. After Polynesians, other settlers were from Tahiti and Marquesas. These people brought along with them yams, sweet potatoes, sugarcane, coconuts, baking banana and breadfruit. Animals such as dogs, pigs and chicken were also brought over for meat. However, they were mighty pleased with the abundant fish because of the sea.
During the days of the first few settlers, meat was prepared in a unique way. It was first spread on sticks and then roasted on fire. Sometimes it was also cooked in underground ovens called imu. Apart from cooking meat, the imu was also used for cooking/baking sweet potatoes, breadfruit, taro, fish and other vegetables after wrapping in TI, ginger or banana leaves. Men exclusively did the cooking. A separate imu was used to cook food for women. The meals were eaten by men and women separately.
Over the centuries the Hawaiian foods have undergone a sea change. Today, it’s all about fusion cuisine in Hawaii. The local food that is eaten by the islanders on a daily basis mostly reflects the diverse community here. The simple plate lunch is the most popular dish in Honolulu and the entire Hawaiian Islands. It comprises of two scoops of rice topped with gravy, a hamburger patty and a fried egg. Variations of this dish include Japanese style konkatsu or teriyaki beef or chicken, kalua pig, fried fish and macaroni salad. Other traditional foods here include taro rolls, haupia, lomi lomi salmon and poi (a paste made from taro).